RT London making its NeoCon debut
Grand Rapids furniture maker RT London will exhibit at NeoCon for the first time this year, with hopes of attracting greater attention from architects and designers to its products.
The company said it hopes its exhibition space will bring greater attention to its higher education products as well as the crossover potential its products have within the health care and hospitality markets.
NeoCon is the largest commercial interiors show in North America, attracting more than 50,000 designers. Each year it is held at Chicago’s Merchandise Mart during the month of June. This year the trade show will take place June 15-17.
“We are very excited,” said Jennifer Vaccaro, RT London’s regional sales manager for central, south and southeastern United States.
“We want to get our name known in the architecture and design community — the folks who would look at our product and deem it appropriate for spaces they are designing.”
RT London is best known for its higher education products and would like to increase its market share within the university and college setting.
Vaccaro said RT London typically works with facilities managers on projects, but she noted most projects for which the company is vying typically start within architectural firms.
“They know RT London, and we become the go-to furniture provider,” she said. “They would specify our product, and we actually get in the door before any other folks.”
In addition to its higher education business, RT London sees great crossover potential for its products in the areas of hospitality and health care.
“Basically, any place that needs a bed and casegoods, we can play on that playground,” she said. “We don’t just do the twin bed, bunk bed or the loft bed; we also do full-, queen- and king-size beds, which typically go into the RA’s room or an alumni center. That crosses over into a hospitality-functioning area.
“We see a big opportunity in hospitality and health care, and the way to get into those projects is through the A&D (architects and designers) community,” she said.
In fact, the company already has made a move toward boutique hotels and hopes to add more of those types of projects to its portfolio.
“We are making strides into that market,” she said. “We would like to crash that market.”
The health care realm is becoming more hospitality-focused in its furnishings, presenting another opportunity for RT London.
“We do Ronald McDonald Houses, for families that need to stay near hospitals because their loved one is in the hospital,” Vaccaro said. “We’ve done hospice beds, beds for assisted living. Those assisted-living facilities strive to look very much like a hotel or a home.”
Vaccaro said studies have shown patients recover better when the furniture around them is comfortable and homey.
“It’s been shown time and time again, if you make these settings comfortable and inviting for the family to come in and spend time with them, they actually recover faster,” she said.
It also decreases the stigmatization for patients when rehabilitation environments don’t look a typical hospital environment.
“If you make it something beautiful, people are more apt to use it and get better,” she said.
RT London will introduce its newest product line, Doozie, at NeoCon.
The contemporary lounge collection includes several pieces that can be configured in a variety of ways to enhance hospitality and learning environments.
Along with Doozie, RT London will show several of its other popular products.
“We feel that, shown with this new, modern, contemporary product, these products that have been in our line for some time have a new life to them,” Vaccaro said.
RT London is looking forward to garnering new relationships at NeoCon, which it hopes will position it for future growth.
“We feel this is going to be really good for RT London and our exposure,” Vaccaro said. “We know we are unique in the sense that no one else is going to be showing this. No one is going to show a lofted dorm bed that is exciting to look at and beautiful, and it’s really going to be nice to talk to people about upper-education design and, in the same breath, have a conversation about hospitality, corporate design and health care design.”
RT London employs approximately 100 people, mostly at its facility at 1642 Broadway NW in Grand Rapids, where the company is headquartered. The company manufactures all of its products in America, and has factories both in Grand Rapids and in Lacey, Wash.